With temperatures soaring for nearly half of the U.S. population this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its monthly report on climate trends on Thursday. The main takeaway? Prepare for a scorching summer.
Above-normal temperatures are likely in nearly all 48 states in June, July and August, with the exception of small areas in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains, the agency said.
The Northeast, from Delaware to Maine, is the region most likely to be extra hot, along with parts of the West. The agency also forecasts lower-than-normal precipitation for most of the West, meaning the severe drought plaguing the region is unlikely to end.
Heat and dryness are also harbingers of a very bad forest fire season. In New Mexico, where firefighters are already battling fierce fires largest in state history.It’s hard to imagine how things could get worse.
The climate pattern known as La Niña is likely responsible for some of the above-normal temperature. But it is important to remember that it is generally warmer than before.
Greenhouse gas emissions have warmed Earth’s atmosphere by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to pre-industrial times. Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, countries set emissions reduction targets to limit warming to around 3.6 degrees Celsius.